This is a unique & exciting adventure which combines river trip, forest and mountain trails, waterfalls and freshwater pools, camping and eco-lodges. We will get the chance to spot crocodiles in their natural environment during a river trip on Manantanana River. From the moment your family arrives in Madagascar you will know you have travelled somewhere truly remarkable where you will experience the unique flora and fauna (on our visits to both Ranomafana National Park and Anja Reserve) on this thrilling & authentic trip suitable for the whole family.
Madagascar is a one-off; there is no other place like it. Its landscapes, animals and plants are simply extraordinary! Near the equator with an astonishing array of habitats, ranging from rainforests to deserts and from mountain tops to mangrove swamps, it is one of the most important countries for biodiversity on the planet. The tropical climate is a perfect host to the process of nature and, like nowhere else, the variety and richness of life has flourished.
As part of our commitment to responsible travel and in conjunction with Woodstock.org we finance a tree nursery and orchard in Italavina – which is a long term reforestation project.
South East Madagascar Family Adventure Itinerary
Day 1: Antananarivo
After arriving in Antananarivo (or Tana, as it is known by the locals) late pm, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: Antsirabe (B,L,D)
After breakfast you will meet your guide and we will set out by car to Antsirabe, a tidy, well maintained town which combines the tranquility of a small European provincial town with the exuberance of traditional Malagasy buildings. The journey takes approx. 3+ hours on a good, windy road, and along the way you can choose to stop off and visit Ambatolampy (the biggest town between Tana and Antisirabe) where we may get the chance to see craftsmen building aluminium pots amongst other things. Alternatively, if time allows, you can also visit lake Tritriva (2hr round trip) – a stunning lake of volcanic origin with blue/green waters, surrounded by beautiful scenery – we can walk around the lake in approx. 1 hour and during this time we will likely meet many local Malagasy people. Where we will stop and what you will do today will depend on your preferences. Upon arrival at Antisirabe you could visit the stone cutting workshop where they cut crystals.
Day 3: Lemur Forest (B,L,D)
This morning we will drive to Ambohimasoa (Driving time – 4h).
We will spend the night in Lemur’s Forest camp which is set in a managed forest (within a private eco-reserve).
As the name dictates several species of lemur can be found here including the Milne Edwards Sifaka and we can spend the afternoon exploring the forests, as well as a short night walk.
Day 4: Sahambavy (B,L,D)
We will spend the morning exploring the forest, before having an early lunch.
We will then set off Sahambavy (Driving time – approx. 3h).
This afternoon we can visit the plantations and tonight we will stay at the Lac Hôtel with a breathtaking view of the islands unique tea plantation (520 hectares) which spreads out as far as the eye can see. The beautiful landscape with the charming lake is the perfect destination for a relaxing stop-off.
Day 5: Discovering Ranomafana National Park (B,L,D)
This morning we will set off for Ranomafana National Park (approx. 4hr + journey on good but a windy roads).
Ranomafana is particularly rich and beautiful, a mountainous subtropical park which contains lowland moist forest, cloud forest and high plateau forest and is the home to a large number of lemur species (13 in total), as well as 118 birds and more than 70 amphibians and reptiles so is really a great place to see some of the unique species living in Madagascar. Lemurs include the brown lemur, golden bamboo lemur and the exceptionally rare greater bamboo lemur which is relatively easy to see in Ranomafana. Wildlife viewing is good all year round but is most productive from mid-Sept to May. We will stay just outside Ranomafana (just 10 minutes from the park entrance).
Day 6: Ranomafana National Park (B,L,D)
We will head out on a forest trail today along some of the many easy mountainous tracks, there will be plenty of opportunities to see lemurs and much of the other wildlife first hand, as well as to enjoy the stunning cascades and waterfalls. You will have the option of visiting the thermal baths this afternoon.
Day 7: Ranomafana – Amblavao (Including River Trip) (B,L,D)
This morning we will spend a couple of hours rafting on the Namorana River inside the National Park. After we pull out, we will head to Ambalavao (Driving Time – approx 3h). If time allows, you should get a chance to visit the attractive town of Ambalavao before heading to your accommodation and some time to relax.
Day 8: Descent Manantanana River (B,L,D)
Approximately 10 minutes later, we arrive at the edge of the Mananatanana, in the village of Iarintsena. This village is actively involved in the development of rural tourism.
After preparing our boats, we board the kayak or the raft for our new adventure.
The first crocodiles are waiting for you, only a few minutes after departure. Over the course of the day, you will see even more crocodiles, although you have to remain quiet and calm due of the timid nature of this elite predator, which is still hunted for its meat, skin and oil.
In the evening, we will set up our camp to face the mountain of “ lying woman” that dominates the Antsakaviro reserve.
Day 9: Visit Antsakaviro Village & Descent Manantanana River (B,L,D)
The reserve is only 1 km from the camp and we will enjoy using the rays of the sunrise to guide us to the remains of this forest, which is set in gigantic puzzle blocks.
It is a great opportunity to encourage local people to protect the natural heritage of their land and is also a beautiful walk in the shadow of the impressive mountainside of Antsakaviro. There, you may spot some ring-tailed lemurs. On the way, we will discover many graves, including the impressive standing stones called the vatolahy, which means locally “the male stone”, and stand as a tribute to the tumultuous past of this region.
We will arrive back at camp at approximately 10:30 from here we paddle a short distance to our picnic area which is often visited by crocodiles. From here we only have a few more miles to the finish of our descent. We will arrive 400 meters away from where we met our car and driver, from which we will head back to Ambalavao.
Day 10: Anja & Tsaranoro Valley (B,L,D)
This morning we visit Anja Park (just a few kms from Ambalavao).
After visiting the reserve we will drive to our next destination – the Tsaranoro Valley (2 hrs away).
This afternoon we will be able to go on a short trek to explore the area or simply relax.
Day 11: Discovering Tsaranoro Valley (B,L,D)
We will spend today exploring this stunning area on foot and meeting all the locals.
We will also have the chance to visit the base for our local agents reforestation effort (a passion which is shared (via wood-en-stock) by Pioneer Expeditions) . Here we will have the opportunity to visit and see the reforestation effort for ourselves. Depending on the time of year we may also get to plant some young saplings.
Day 12: Ambositra (B,L,D)
Today we must start our long journey back to Tana, so we will head to Ambositra (Driving time – 8h, excluding stops)
Along the way we can stop at some of the towns.
Depending on our time of arrival in Ambositra we can visit the handicraft market.
Day 14: Back to Tana and Flight Home (B)
We will head back to Tana today (Driving time – 5h), so suits an afternoon flight. If you are booked on the Air France flight (which leaves around 1.30am, you can visit the handicraft market in Tana and have the option of a day use room at a local hotel. If you are on an earlier morning flight, you may need to spend an additional night in Tana, which we are happy to organise for you.